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Ask Eli: Find Savings In Your 2019 Condo/HOA Budget

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: I’m the Treasurer for my condo association and we’re working on the 2019 budget. What’s a good way for us to save money in the budget without compromising the health and maintenance of the building?

Answer: As a former Condo Board Treasurer, I feel the pain that this time of year brings, so I’m happy to offer some advice that helped me finding savings while I oversaw the budget and has helped other associations do the same… review your master insurance policy.

I know, it’s not the most exciting answer, but your insurance policy is likely a top three expense on your balance sheet every year and if you haven’t reviewed it lately, there’s a good chance you can cut the cost by 5% or more and probably improve your coverage at the same time.

I’m not an expert in insurance so, I asked Andrew Schlaffer, Vice President at USI Insurance Service’s Community Association Practice to provide some details on what Board’s should look for when they do a review of their Master Policy. If you’d like to discuss a review with Andrew directly, you can reach him at 703-205-8764 or [email protected].

Take it away Andrew…

Pillars Of Insurance Reviews

Condo insurance reviews require a holistic approach, so it’s important to break the cost into a few distinct categories: insurance premium, deductible expense and out-of-pocket costs. To effectively accomplish long-term savings, all three of these categories need to be considered and addressed with a qualified insurance professional.

Adjust Coverage Responsibly To Save On Premium

Premium is certainly a factor to consider during the insurance selection process; however, available insurance products differ significantly.

Coverages and services should be very carefully analyzed and compared. While omitting various coverages will save premium dollars, it might also result in substantially increased costs to the association for out-of-pocket expenses related to uncovered claims.

It is critical to work with a professional who understands local insurance needs and can adjust your insurance program in a way that maximizes premium savings while maintaining adequate insurance coverage. Some coverages may be required by statute and/or association documents, so cutting required coverage exposes the Board to unwanted risk.

Deductibles Based On Loss History

Associations with strong financials often choose to increase their property deductibles which can provide immediate savings of 2-5%. Deductibles range from $2,500 to $25,000+.

When considering deductibles, it is important for the association to review their loss history and the loss history of comparable buildings in an effort to obtain an accurate estimate for deductible expenses.

Rate Shopping

The most common strategy employed by associations seeking lower insurance costs is to shop their carrier.

An association can accomplish this in several ways but generally their appointed broker can offer alternative carriers in an effort to obtain the most competitive rates possible. Make sure your broker has access to all of the competitive markets in order to maximize the likelihood of finding savings.

Secondly, and more importantly, if savings is found, your broker should verify that all required coverages are included to secure the association’s long-term financial security and lender approval. Additional savings can be realized by a thorough coverage analysis to verify the association is not being over-insured by paying for coverage it won’t use.

We are in a relatively soft insurance market, so an association can expect savings of 2-5% from a simple review, depending on the number of claims that have occurred during the previous policy period.

To insure cost savings and long-term health of your property, make sure your insurance broker specializes in condominium or homeowners associations. To maximize your savings, the association, insurance broker and insurance carrier need to work in harmony in an effort to identify and reduce threats to the financial health of the community.

Help Reducing Claims

One of the best ways to keep insurance costs down is to avoid claims altogether.

Some examples of how insurance brokers can help reduce claims and the impact claims have on your future premium costs include coverage reviews/benchmarking, claims management services, site inspections, building upgrade recommendations, life safety planning, vendor contract reviews, discrimination/harassment training and hiring/firing best practices.

Thank You

Andrew, thank you very much for providing your insight. I know from experience how much of an impact an insurance review can have on a condo budget, but also how important the right coverage can be when there’s an unexpected claim.

One thing board’s often overlook when they’re solely focused on price is the quality and speed of service when a claim in filed. For example, if a pipe bursts and floods the gym and lobby, a board should be confident that the work orders will be executed quickly so the building can be back on its feet without delay or headache.

Unfortunately, most boards don’t think about this until they’re dealing with it, and it’s too late. I encourage any board/treasurer to reach out to Andrew to review their policy. He does fantastic work and USI is a leader in condo/HOA insurance policies in Northern Virginia. His contact info is:

Andrew Schlaffer, Vice President
USI Community Association Practice
www.usi.com
Direct: 703-205-8764
Email: [email protected]

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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Ask Eli: Investing Along Columbia Pike — Trafalgar Flats Update

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: How much interest has there been in Trafalgar Flats and do you think it’s a good investment?

Answer: Twelve months ago I introduced a new condo building off of Columbia Pike, Trafalgar Flats, by Pillars Development Group. Now that they’re near completion, I stopped by to take a look at the progress and talk to Rick Snider, Pillars’ VP of Planning & Design.

Impressive Design, Upgraded Finishes

Trafalgar Flats owners will be pleasantly surprised with the quality of the finishes; everything is upgraded well beyond what one expects at this price point.

It’s a modern design without being over-the-top and includes nice touches, like heavier interior doors, most builders skip. Instead of using standard bucket-style recessed lighting, they chose LED lights that lay flat against the ceiling (pictured below) for a minimalist look I expect will become a trend.

Strong Pre-Sales

Selling condos without a model isn’t easy so having 40% sold (33 of 78 units) already reinforces how starved Arlington is for new condos at a reasonable price (about half the cost of comparable units at Key & Nash).

To Pillars’ credit, their sales have been evenly distributed across each of the three types of units – Jr 1BR ($265k+), 1BR ($340k+), and 2BR/2BA ($475k+). I was particularly interested in how the Jr 1BR would sell because it’s a product that we don’t see much of around here; it turns out they made the right decision.

Trafalgar Flats will be complete, with a model unit, by the end of the year. Although that comes at the slowest time of the year for local real estate I expect the pace of sales to move quickly. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are sold out by March 2019, sooner if Amazon HQ2 announces their move to Arlington.

Investing Along Columbia Pike

Western Columbia Pike has a higher appreciation ceiling over the next 5-10 years than most Northern VA neighborhoods. It is primed for a shift in residential and commercial activity as the County’s Multimodal Street Improvement project reaches completion over the next few years, including improvements to underground utilities.

Just this year, major projects along western Columbia Pike have been announced or under construction including Trafalgar Flats, a new Pillars townhouse community, Centro Arlington (anchored by Harris Teeter), and Gilliam Place Apartments.

Thoughts From Pillars Development Executive

I spoke with Rick Snider, long-time Northern Virginia real estate Executive and VP of Planning & Design for Pillars, about Trafalgar Flats and his thoughts on development along Columbia Pike:

How did you choose this area over others to build TF? We were immediately attracted to this site when it came onto the market due to the ‘hole’ in the market relative to “For Sale” product versus “Rental”; we rightly anticipated that some nearby apartment renters would want to become new home owners, rather than purchase an older condo.

Are there other pockets of Northern Virginia or Arlington that you believe has similar appreciation potential? We like Columbia Pike and the market along it; we already have townhouse lots in planning nearby Trafalgar Flats to emphasize our interest in and commitment to this area, and are hopeful that our searches for additional land development opportunities in the area will be rewarded.

Where do you see Columbia Pike Development in three years and in seven years? When do you expect the biggest transition to take place along the Pike? The foundational change of course is found in the Multimodal Project which underscores Arlington County’s commitment to upgrade the infrastructure along this important corridor and to thereby not only improve existing residents’ quality of life, but also to attract additional developments like Trafalgar Flats, Centro Arlington and Gilliam Place.

Do you think Columbia Pike or Lee Highway will re-develop faster?  If you had asked me this a couple of years ago, I would have weighed in on Lee Highway without hesitation, but I think that with the new developments underway and with the infrastructure improvements going in now and in the future that it becomes much more of a horse race; and I think that the price of housing, both for sale and rental, may well be the deciding factor that pushes the Pike ahead.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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Ask Eli: The Best Month to Find a Good Deal is Coming Up

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: We are ready to buy a home, but not in a rush to do so we are wondering what the best time of year to buy a home is. Does it make more sense to buy now or should wait until the spring?

Answer: The right time of year to buy depends on the type of buyer you are and your priorities. The number of new properties listed for sale drops significantly in the fall and winter, so you may struggle to find the perfect home. However, demand drops too so properties spend longer on market and you have a better chance of negotiating a lower purchase price.

Buy in the fall/winter if…

  • You are searching for a bargain
  • The right home is just outside of your budget
  • You have seen multiple homes for sale that you like
  • You can’t bring yourself to offer full asking price

Wait until the spring/summer if…

  • Your criteria are hard to match
  • You are willing to pay top dollar for the perfect home
  • You have to sell a home in order to qualify to buy your next home
  • You don’t mind losing out to another offer

Let’s take a look at the data that supports the above statements. Here are some highlights of the chart and table shown below:

  • December has by far the fewest number of newly listed homes for sale, followed by November and January
  • Buyers who have offers accepted in December are able to negotiate the biggest discount from the asking price, but July-January also offer more favorable negotiating conditions for buyers
  • If you’re looking to avoid competition, November-January have significantly less contract activity than the rest of the year
  • If you like to take your time with decisions, the market moves notably slower July-January
  • The single-family/townhouse market is influenced much more by seasonality than the condo market

Chart #1: The chart below shows the number of newly listed homes for sale in Arlington each month, going back the last three years.

Table #1: The table below is made up of Arlington home sales from 2015-2017, excluding new construction and anything that took more than 120 days to sell. I have highlighted the cells in green that are the most favorable for buyers. The table is based on the month that a sold home went under contract, not the month it actually sold (homes usually sell 30-60 days after they go under contract).

If you are considering buying a home and would like to discuss how you might be able to take advantage of a softer fall/winter market, feel free to reach out to me to schedule a time to meet. You can reach me by email at [email protected] or by phone at 703-539-2529.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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Ask Eli: “Ask” Us About Tysons, McLean, Vienna and Falls Church!

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

I am excited to announce that today marks our expansion of the “Ask Eli” real estate column further into Northern Virginia, with the introduction of “Ask Val” in the Tysons Reporter.

What Is Tysons Reporter?

Tysons Reporter is a new online local news publication brought to you by Scott and his team, who started and still oversee, ARLnow. It will cover local news in Tysons, McLean and Vienna (and probably Falls Church) the same way they canvass Arlington for great, hyper-local stories. If you work, live, have an interest in those communities or know anybody that does, I encourage you to follow along or sign-up for their daily newsletter.

Who Is Ask Val?

Val is one of the awesome agents in the Eli Residential Group and specializes in the neighborhoods surrounding Tysons (with a ton of experience in Maryland too!). She grew up in Peru and began her real estate career in the DMV in 2004.

Starting today, she will be writing a weekly Ask Val real estate column for Tysons Reporter. She will include some of the data-driven content that you’re used to seeing here, but plans to give the column her own twist by using videos and some fun local flavor to bring her own personality to readers.

I hope you find some time to follow along with Val’s column and the rest of the great local news at Tysons Reporter!

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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Ask Eli: Amazon HQ2, My Opinions and its Impact on Housing (Part 2 of 2)

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Last week, I published Part 1 of my opinions on why Amazon HQ2 is likely to come to the Northern Virginia/Washington, D.C. region and this week I am adding my thoughts on where I think they will/should locate and (sort of) answering the most common question I get — how it will impact the housing market.

Amazon Shouldn’t Pick One Location

The popular choice for Amazon’s second headquarters in Northern Virginia seems to be Crystal City for a number of reasons including immediately available office space, proximity to National Airport (DCA) and Government, Metro access, a well-educated population and more. While I do agree that Crystal City is the best primary location for HQ2, I hope they take advantage of the entire Northern Virginia — Washington, D.C. — Maryland region to prevent overloading the infrastructure (specifically schools and traffic) and housing market in a single jurisdiction.

According to the RFP, Amazon spreads 8.1M square feet of office space across 33 buildings in Seattle, so I would expect a similar make-up for HQ2 (projecting 8M square feet of office space).

Amazon can distribute these offices from Arlington County to Loudon County in Virginia, K St. to Congress Heights in Washington, D.C. and Montgomery/Prince George’s County to Baltimore in Maryland. They can also benefit from Metro/Commuter Train connectivity between every site, frequent domestic and international flights within 30 minutes, shipping ports, data centers, a diverse and educated workforce, affordable and diverse housing options and almost everything else that they mention in their Key Preferences and Decision Drivers.

Based on conversations, news articles and personal opinion the following locations are where I think Amazon should spread its 8M sq. ft. of office space for HQ2. I highlighted the locations I think should have the largest concentration of Amazon jobs.

Northern Virginia

  • Crystal City/Rosslyn-Ballston (majority presence)
  • Tysons
  • Reston
  • Loudon One
  • Richmond Highway (Alexandria)

Washington, D.C.

  • K Street/Foggy Bottom
  • D.C. Armory/RFK Stadium
  • Anacostia/Congress Heights

Maryland

  • College Park/Greenbelt
  • Bethesda/Rockville
  • Baltimore (City)

All of this can be done to strategically improve local economies and infrastructure without the devastating effects of adding 50,000 jobs to one or two locations. Plus, Amazon already has enticing incentive packages from all of them!

The Impact to the Housing Market Will Be…

Everybody wants to know how much home values will rise and how quickly… and it would be irresponsible of me to answer that question. Until we know how the jobs will be distributed, how they’ll hire (local vs. new residents), the timeline and the types of jobs then there is no basis for quantitative analysis. However, I’ll share some thoughts that may help answer some of your questions…

If the announcement is made in favor of Northern Virginia or the D.C. Metro, I believe we will witness two opposing market forces at play:

On one side, prices will push upward as sellers demand a premium for being part of the new Amazon market area and buyers are eager to purchase before the wave of Amazon employees. In direct opposition to price appreciation will be a significant increase in homes for sale because many home owners are waiting for a decision before putting their house on the market. If you plan to buy or sell in the wake of Amazon’s decision, you’ll want a pre-decision strategy and access to daily analytics after the decision.

This is where I’ll happily plug myself and my team. If you’re a weekly reader of my columns, you’ll know this is what we do best. If you’re new to my columns because of the click-power of an Amazon HQ2 article, here are two recent examples (one and two) of custom, hyper-local data analysis. Personalized analytics is a pillar of our service offerings.

Ultimately, I think price appreciation will win out because the market is already hungry for more supply, but the appreciation will be limited until the demand curve shifts when Amazon’s employees, and the employees of companies that support Amazon, start buying and renting.

To get a sense of what could happen to the housing market over time, let’s take a look at the Seattle area since Amazon started taking off in 2012. Remember, with a company like Amazon, it’s not just their employees but the employees of companies with direct and indirect business relationships.

Median Home Prices Have Doubles Since Jan 2012


Courtesy of Zillow

Amazon Stock Growth Since Jan 2012


Courtesy of Yahoo

Conclusion

As a homeowner and real estate agent, I am excited and hopeful for Amazon to select our region as the location of their second headquarters. As an Arlington resident frustrated by congestion and concerned about the impact rapid housing price appreciation will have on our community, as well as a father of a future Arlington Public Schools student, I hope that Amazon makes a conscious decision to spread their wealth across the entire Northern VA-Washington D.C.-Maryland region. We will have our answer within 100 days.

P.S. — Jeff, I’d be happy to assist your employees with their relocation. My cell phone number is 703-539-2529 if you’d like to discuss privately 🙂

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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Ask Eli: Part 1 of 2 — Amazon HQ2, My Opinions and its Impact on Housing

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: What would the impact of Amazon HQ2 be on housing in the D.C. Metro, Northern Virginia and Arlington?

Answer: Welp, here we go… On the heels of Jeff Bezos’ trip to D.C., where he confirmed an Amazon HQ2 announcement would be made by the end of the year, I figured there’s no better time to get maximum internet clicks on an Amazon article!

In all seriousness, this is a topic I think and talk about almost daily (jealous?) so I wanted to share my thoughts with you, with a focus on ideas you may not have read in other forums or articles (e.g. Bezos buying a house in D.C. is not mentioned beyond this point).

I’m Confident Amazon HQ2 is Coming to Northern VA/D.C. Metro

Criteria: I won’t bore you with a breakdown of Amazon’s RFP criteria, but the Amazon RFP is a quick read and it’s clear this region meets and exceeds their priorities and everything on their list of “Key Preferences and Decision Drivers.” 

Tech’s Shifting Role: It seems that the long-term success of tech giants will depend on their ability to lobby and direct favorable public policy just as much as it will depend on their ability to develop innovative products. I believe that Amazon HQ2 is only the beginning of a massive tech migration to the D.C. region (see recent Facebook and Apple news).

Bezos v Trump: Don’t you think that with every Trump tweet or comment about Bezos/Amazon/WaPo, the decision becomes more and more personal for Bezos? Can you think of a more tempting power-play by Bezos than moving in next door? I have no doubt that Bezos knows where he can put an Amazon building with a direct line-of-sight from the White House.

My Network: Did I mention I talk about Amazon HQ2 almost every day?

That has led me to some interesting conversations with folks in my network including recruiters for Amazon, employees and former employees of Amazon and other tech companies, local corporate relocation insiders, home inspectors and general contractors. Each offering their own industry-specific signs of a decision in favor of our region.

Vegas: There is nobody better at predicting the future than Las Vegas bookmakers so when Bovada.lv, the largest online gambling site in the US, came out with odds heavily favoring Northern Virginia (#1) and Washington, D.C. (#2), I knew the hype wasn’t just local.

Available Office Space: Amazon is projecting a need for 8M square feet of office space to house 50,000 employees. According to John Redeker, a Senior Associate for Cushman & Wakefield, the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor alone currently has 5,375,000 sq. ft. of available (“available” sounds better than “vacant” right?) office space and Crystal/Pentagon City is sitting on over 2,177,000 sq. ft. of available office space.

Hmmm… sounds a little too perfect, doesn’t it?

Oh, and don’t forget that Tysons has over 1,564,000 sq. ft. of brand-new office space under construction.

By the way, if you’re a business-owner and planning on moving or adding office space in the next year, you may want to reach out to John now while rents are still on the downward trend.

In next week’s Part 2 column, I will detail where I think Amazon should locate its 50,000 employees across 8M square feet of office space and what that will mean for the housing market in the near-term and long-term.

P.S. — Jeff, I’d be happy to assist your employees with their relocation. My cell phone number is 703-539-2529 if you’d like to discuss privately 🙂

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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Ask Eli: Buying Your Rental/Selling to Your Tenant

Question: I am interested in purchasing the condo I currently rent and my landlord is interested in selling, but that’s as far as we’ve gotten. Do we need an agent for the transaction? Is there anything unique about this type of transaction we should be aware of?

Answer: The sale of a rental property to a tenant is usually a dream scenario for both parties, each realizing financial benefits and simplifying an often-difficult process. The transaction reflects a normal sale except that the buyer and seller have a direct relationship which usually is not the case. Thus the question — should you use an agent?

I’m going to take a wild guess and assume most of you reading this are thinking “No way! If you don’t need somebody to open a door, you don’t need an agent.”

Yes, part of an agent’s role in a sale between tenant and landlord is not necessary — the buyer doesn’t need help defining criteria or accessing properties and the seller doesn’t need help preparing the property for market and marketing it. Yes, two parties can enter into a contract to sell property without an agent and just hire a title attorney to handle the legal transfer.

However, I would encourage you to consider some questions/scenarios when you’re deciding whether or not to use an agent for the direct sale of a rental to a tenant:

Market Value

This is the most obvious and common request for an agent to be involved in a direct rental sale. Are both parties comfortable discussing what they believe fair market value is and negotiating the right price? Some people are perfectly comfortable with these conversations, while others would rather it be handled by a 3rd party.

Contract & Transactional Support

Our contracts are the result of decades of transaction history. They exist to provide protections to both buyer and seller and define rules in the event something doesn’t go as planned. You should consider whether or not you want the services of a professional to set-up the contracts in a way that protects your interests.

Think of this as an insurance policy on the transaction — if everything goes perfectly, a simple contract works just fine, but as soon as something (or somebody) derails, you want the right contract language in place and somebody to advise on best practices.

Representation

In Virginia, you have the option of each party being individually represented, whereby the agent has fiduciary responsibility to represent the sole interests of the party they work for or an agent can act as a Dual Representative, whereby the agent acts more like an unbiased facilitator/mediator of the transaction.

It is also worth noting that while one party may seek representation, the other party may choose to be unrepresented.

Commission/Payment

In a traditional home sale, the seller pays the commission of their agent and the agent who represents the buyer. However, in a direct rental sale, it’s my opinion that this is much more negotiable and ultimately gets built into the structure of the deal.

For example, if the seller chooses to be unrepresented and the buyer chooses to hire an agent, the buyer should bear the cost of said representation directly or within the terms of the deal.

It is also worth noting that, like any professional service, the cost of the representation is negotiated between the hiring party/parties and the agent.

Rental Agreement

Landlords and tenants should review the terms of the agreements they signed, if applicable, with the agent they used when they rented the subject property.

There are terms in many agreements that require a commission payment to the previous agent/broker if the property is sold during the tenancy. If you’ve already agreed to pay a commission in the event of a sale, you might as well utilize their services in the deal as well.

There is not one set answer to whether you should use an agent for your direct rental sale, but it’s important for both parties to understand their options for representation and what they are giving up or gaining by their decision. A direct sale changes the role an agent plays in a transaction, but it doesn’t eliminate it. In many cases, the negotiation and contract-to-close services are the most important role an agent will play.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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Ask Eli: GreatSchools.org Changes Ratings… Again

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: Do you know why GreatSchools.org changed the ratings for Arlington’s schools?

Answer: Sometime this summer, the popular school rating website GreatSchools.org changed their rating for most of the schools in Northern Virginia. If this sounds familiar, it’s because they made sweeping changes to their grading system less than a year ago, which I wrote about in March.

The previous changes resulted in a drop of 1-2 points for nearly every school in Northern Virginia, leaving Arlington with high schools rated 5, 4 and 3. The latest adjustments seem to have increased the rating for most schools, but some schools got dinged again like Jefferson Middle. After the latest changes, Arlington’s high schools are rated 8, 6 and 4.

School Ratings Influence Home Prices

If you’re wondering why I’m talking about school ratings in a real estate column it’s because the ratings issued by GreatSchools.org heavily influence where people buy and how much they’re willing to spend. You can debate the merits of these ratings systems all you want, but the fact is that they play a significant role in real estate.

While Niche.com generates the most traffic, I find that GreatSchools.org is much more popular locally and I think it’s due to the fact that they grade harder than Niche (Niche gives out a ton of A-, A, and A+ ratings).

What Changed?

I reached out to GreatSchools.org for details on why so many ratings were changed and was told something along the lines of “GreatSchools is always improving our rating systems to make sure it is as accurate as possible.”

Through various threads and Googling I did earlier this year, it sounded like the changes earlier this year were due to a new score for how well schools help under-performing students improve year-to-year.

I haven’t been able to find any information on why scores changed so dramatically this time around. If any of the readers have insight into the scoring adjustments, I would love to hear from you in the comments section or by email.

Tracking the Changes

GreatSchools would not provide me with historical ratings, so in March I compared scores I had recorded for clients in Fall ’17 to the new scores in March ’18.

Now that we have another round of changes, I added a column to that table so we can continue tracking past and current scoring trends.

Unfortunately, when I built the table in March I didn’t have any recorded scores for elementary schools and limited middle and high schools in Fairfax County.

Good News/Bad News

The good news is that the most recent adjustments helped almost all of Arlington’s schools, especially the high schools.

The bad news is that it hurts the credibility of GreatSchools.org and other rating systems because it makes it hard to rely on their ratings when you have a school like Yorktown HS go from a 7 to a 5 to an 8 in under a year.

Ultimately, consumers need to decide for themselves how much they rely on these scores to influence their decisions, but nothing beats talking to neighbors, joining online forums and calling or visiting a school.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

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Ask Eli: How Much Mortgage Can I Afford?

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: My husband and I are in the early stages of planning our first home purchase and currently trying to set a budget. What advice do you give clients to help them decide how much of a mortgage they can afford?

Answer: Spend too much and you’ll have a half-empty home for a few years. Don’t spend enough and you may be moving sooner than you hoped. This week we’ll break down some of the conversations I have early on with clients as they’re deciding how much mortgage they can afford.

How Much Are You Allowed to Spend?

I often find that professionals employed in the D.C. Metro are allowed to spend more than they actually want to spend. That’s a good thing! It means we have a lot of highly qualified buyers who have enough fiscal sense not to spend to their limits (ahem… US Government… ahem).

Even so, the first thing you’ll want to do is determine how much you’re allowed to spend by talking with a lender who will provide an honest, detailed review of your finances to let you know what your maximum loan and monthly payment amount is. A good lender will also serve as a valuable advisor as you plan your budget.

Here’s a link to a column I wrote last year with my favorite loan programs including low down payment options, 10% no PMI loans, and doctor loans.

Length of Ownership

I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again — the amount of time you expect to own your home is extremely important in your home-buying strategy and often glossed over.

If you are buying a 3-5 year home (accurate for many first-time buyers) your focus should be on value and keeping your cost down so that you give yourself room to save for your next purchase, which is likely a longer-term home. Your income and inflation are less likely to increase significantly in that time, so an expensive monthly payment now will still feel expensive in 3-5 years.

If you are buying a 10-15+ year home, the greatest value you’ll generate is choosing a home that suits you and your family long-term. The cost of buying something too small or too far from work that leads to a sale halfway through your intended ownership period is often much higher (taxes, commissions, closing costs, moving costs, etc) than the cost of moving into a slightly uncomfortable range of your budget.

Your mortgage payment hopefully won’t feel expensive forever if you’re in the first half of your professional career because you’ll likely have significant increases in income and, over time, the effects of inflation will minimize the stress of your mortgage (if it’s a fixed rate mortgage).

Monthly vs Down Payment

I find that most people based their budget on their savings and thus, the amount they have to put down towards a max purchase price. For some reason, monthly expenses often go overlooked so don’t forget to consider how much you’re comfortable spending each month which includes your mortgage, taxes (assume annual increases), applicable condo or HOA fees and homeowner’s insurance.

This doesn’t include a budget for maintenance and repairs, which should be estimated at an annual expense of 1-2% of your home’s value. Your purchase price budget is like the glamour muscles that everybody pays attention to, but the monthly payments are like your core muscles that support the whole thing… does that make sense to anybody else?

Savings is clearly an important factor in what you can afford. Your savings determines the amount you can put down; although with solid loan products available with as little as 3% down, many buyers qualify for a lot of house with little savings.

In addition to your down payment, you’ll pay 2-3% of the purchase price in closing costs like taxes, fees, insurance, and escrows (closing costs can be paid by the seller). Finally, don’t forget about what you’ll need after you close — moving and furniture add up quickly and you should always have 3-6 months of fixed/living expenses in savings in case of emergency.

Don’t Tempt Yourself

Once you decide on your budget, don’t allow yourself to visit properties that are highly unlikely to drop within your budget. One of the easiest ways to derail your progress is visiting homes 10-20% over budget, leading you to desire features that only exist together in homes you can’t afford. Save the window shopping for another time if you’re serious about buying a home now.

Ultimately, the best way to decide how much mortgage you can afford is to plan ahead by establishing a relationship with a lender and taking enough time to explore your options with an agent who understands the market and your needs.

With enough planning and work, you’ll be able to decide for yourself if the mortgage you can afford gets you the home you want, or if paying rent for another year is better than paying a mortgage.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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Ask Eli: The Case For Condo Fees

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: Why would anybody waste hundreds of dollars each month on condo fees?

Answer: I’ve seen a version of this statement/question numerous times in the comments section of my posts and I regularly have clients who are a great fit for a condo purchase, but rule it out because they consider condo fees to be a waste of money and bad investment.

The truth is that most people are looking at condo fees the wrong way and condos can offer huge financial advantages over a single-family home or townhouse.

Home Maintenance vs Condo Fees

Condo fees should mostly be bucketed in the same category as home maintenance and utility bills for a house/townhouse. The average condo fee for units sold in Arlington in 2018 is $484/month, which calculates to an annual fee of 1.3% of the average condo purchase price.

The nationwide rule of thumb is to expect home maintenance costs to be 1-2% of the cost of your home. The D.C. Metro has some of the highest labor costs and a large supply of older homes, so I generally recommend budgeting 2% of a home’s purchase price for annual maintenance.

The benefit of condos is that you are only responsible for the maintenance and repair of what sits inside the walls of your unit (plus a bit of plumbing outside of that) and possibly your heating & cooling system. Most condo fees also include utility costs like water, trash, sewer and gas while some also include electric or TV and internet.

When you compare the projected cost of condo fees, limited system maintenance (HVAC, water heater, appliances), and any individual utility costs against the projected costs of home maintenance and all utilities, you will almost always pay a lower annual percentage of your home’s value if you own a condo instead of a house/townhouse.

Predictable Expenses

Another under-appreciated financial benefit of condos is the ability to project your monthly housing expenses with a high level of confidence and stability.

With the majority of your maintenance and utility bills included in a fix monthly fee, you have very little risk of taking on a major, unexpected expense. Your biggest financial exposure in a condo tends to be HVAC (est $3,000-$10,000), appliances ($2,500+ for a full package), and water heater ($1,000-$1,500) and you can purchase a renewable home warranty for $400-$600/yr to alleviate an expense spike caused by one of those systems.

On the other hand, the unpredictability of major maintenance, repair or replacement costs in a house introduces another level of financial risk for home owners, often forcing them to hold a substantially higher emergency savings balance.

Damage to your main water or gas line? Better come up with $10,000+ quickly and that doesn’t include rebuilding any landscaping or hardscape that gets torn up in the process. Big storm exposes a leaky roof and basement? Possibly tens of thousands to fix and replace.

For many home owners, especially younger buyers with less savings and older home owners on a fixed income, the benefits of stable, predictable condo expenses are a smart financial choice.

Evil Condo Boards

Another concern I hear about condos is that the notoriously evil condo Board/Management (kidding, I was the Treasurer for 1800 Wilson for a few years and have all the respect in the world for condo Board/Committee members) will increase fees or bring special assessments (one-time fee levied against all owners, on top of their condo fee) on a whim just to screw owners over for thousands of dollars. This simply is not accurate.

First and foremost, the Board members are also owners and pay the same fee increases and special assessments as the rest of the owners. Second, most Boards try to limit fee increases to 1-3% annually. Proof? The average condo fee in Arlington has increased by less than 10% over the last five years. Finally, special assessments are generally a measure of last resort and uncommon.

If you are concerned about fee increases and/or special assessments, I strongly encourage you to attend Board meetings and participate on the Financial or Building Committees or as a Board member to personally oversee your investment.

Conclusion

Just because this column is pro-condo does not mean it is anti-single-family home/townhouse, but somebody had to stand-up to for the oft-bullied condo fee! I do hope this message reaches buyers who are a good fit for condos, but hesitant to consider them because of misinformation about the fees.

If you are considering buying a home or investment property and would like to discuss what type of property makes the most sense for you, feel free to send me an email at [email protected].

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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Ask Eli: Sorry For Writing a Millennial Home Buying Column

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: I’ve read a lot of articles that millennials are not buying homes and with Arlington being such a popular destination for millennials, do you see that causing a drop in real estate prices in the future?

Answer: I’m sorry. I can’t stand the constant millennial click-bait analysis either. I really didn’t want to write a column about millennials (born early 80’s through the 90’s), but here we are. Having been asked the same version of this question four times this month during meetings with homeowners, I figured it was worth addressing.

While accusing millennials of killing home buying isn’t as bad as accusing millennials of killing Mayonnaise, it’s just as misguided. Millennials are and will continue to seek home ownership like generations before them. Here’s why the “Millennials Don’t Buy” theory is wrong:

Most Millennials Are Not Old Enough

It makes sense to study the entire generation for things like media consumption, something that people do at all ages, but not home-buying. Currently, the youngest millennials are just heading to college and the oldest are in their mid-to-late 30’s.

Historically, the average first-time homebuyer has been in their early 30’s, so we’ve only seen about one-third of the generation reach average home-buying age. Let’s wait for more of the generation to reach their early 30s before we make broad assumptions about their home ownership preferences.

I’m confident that 5 years from now, home ownership trends amongst millennials in the DC Metro will be as strong or stronger than previous generations. The 20-somes I meet with are eager to stop renting and start building equity.

The Great Recession

For those that point to millennials waiting longer to buy their first or second home, historical perspective is important. The oldest third of millennials (those in their 30’s) were in the early stages of their careers during the Great Recession so the generation got off to a slow start saving up for a down payment and building an income to support a mortgage.

Tighter Lending Practices

The Great Recession also led to tighter lending practices (rightly so) requiring higher savings, higher incomes and more restrictions than before. Couple that with the difficulty building a savings and income, as noted above, and even those highly motivated to buy were forced to rent a bit longer.

Not Rushing to Major Milestones

Home buying is often aligned with other major life milestones like marriage and having children. As reported by ARLnow last week, the NY Times just released a study showing that Northern Va has three of the top ten counties with the highest average age for first-time mothers.

I believe this is tied to us having the most educated population in the US, thus people are spending their 20’s focused on education and careers, not thinking about marriage, children and buying a home until later in life. This does not mean millennials don’t believe in home ownership, as many news articles have led you to believe, they’re just not rushing to get there.

Whether you are a millennial navigating your first home purchase, a Boomer or Silent Generation homeowner looking to “right-size,” or anywhere in between, the Eli Residential Group is here to help.

Call (703-539-2529) or email me any time to talk or schedule a meeting.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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Ask Eli: Renting Your Apartment Furnished vs. Unfurnished

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: I will be renting my condo when I move and don’t need my furniture. Should I rent my apartment furnished, partially furnished, or unfurnished?

Answer: I get this question a lot and it’s common for landlords, especially new ones, to struggle with this decision. There’s not one right answer, rather a few good options, each with its own pros and cons that you should choose from based on your financial goals and what type of landlord you want to be. I’ll go through a few, but you can mix and match strategies to fit your goals. DO NOT furnish anything you want to keep long-term (e.g. family heirlooms).

1. Quick rent, flexibility: Offer unfurnished at market rate and include a comment that it can also be rented furnished for a 10-25% premium (depending on quality and extent of furnishings).

Be willing to negotiate for partially furnished because somebody may have a sofa and bed, but want your coffee table, dressers and silverware.

The value of furnished vs. unfurnished depends on the type of tenant likely to move in. For example, a recent college grad will value avoiding the expense of buying/moving furniture, but a young family likely has everything they need and wants to keep most/all of it.

  • Pros: largest pool of renters; best chance to rent quickly; more likely to find a long-term tenant (24+ months)
  • Cons: high chance of having to quickly sell-off unwanted furniture at a deep discount or pay to store it; can take a long time to find a tenant who will pay a premium for a furnished apartment for 12+ months

2. Top $, unpredictable: Target the corporate rental market by offering short-term (monthly) rentals at a premium (50+% above market).

  • Pros: great returns when occupied; low probability of late or non-payment; lower risk of excessive wear & tear during occupancy; may find long-term corporate client
  • Cons: high turnover; unpredictable cash flow due to more vacancy days; high cost of renting (prepping for new tenant to include cleaning service and possibly handyman); smaller pool of potential renters

3. Daily rental, active management: The extreme version of #2. Use a site like AirBnB or VRBO to capture the massive tourism and business traveler market by turning your apartment into a daily rental. I’ll leave income fluctuation/predictability out of the pro & con list because ratings, pricing, marketing, and experience because they’ll likely start as a negative and develop into a positive, over time.

If you aren’t living in the immediate area, this becomes a less appealing option.

  • Pros: potential for huge return; opportunity to meet interesting people and be a local tour guide
  • Cons: requires constant attention/management; high cost of operation; increased wear & tear; Arlington County requires owners to occupy the dwelling for 185+ days per year

A few notes to help with your decision:

  • Fully Furnished = everything from couches to silverware to a TV
  • Property Managers handle things like rent collection, service/handy calls, and the eviction process if necessary. On average, they charge 6-10% of the rental income for their services.
  • If you choose to list through a Realtor, expect to pay anywhere from 75-100% of one month’s rent, but make sure you’re getting things like a full MLS/MRIS listing with professional photos

Our team also handles rentals so if you are thinking about renting a property you own or would like help finding an investment property to rent, feel free to send me an email at [email protected] to find out how we can help.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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Ask Eli: Most Important Attribute for a Realtor?

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

I’m flipping the Q&A format this week and asking you a question!

Most people agree that the most important quality to look for when selecting a real estate agent is somebody who writes a weekly real estate column for ARLnow, but after that, what is the most important quality you look for when selecting a real estate agent? Please respond in the poll below:

I have found that most people look for somebody they can trust first and vary on the next 3-5 most important qualities. Trust is always my leading qualifier when I’m searching for a provider inside or outside of real estate.

Thanks for participating!

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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Ask Eli: What’s Driving Arlington’s 2018 Condo Growth?

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: Are there specific buildings or sub-markets in Arlington that were responsible for the jump in condo values in the first half of 2018?

Answer: The most interesting data point that came from last week’s mid-year real estate review was that, for the first time in years, condo prices appreciated significantly from the first half of 2017 (9.1% growth).

I received a number of emails from readers asking if this growth occurred across the entire condo market or in specific locations or buildings so this week’s column takes a deeper dive into the 2018 mid-year data for condos in Arlington.

Growth and Demand Increase Across the Market

The good news for condo owners in Arlington is that appreciation and demand increased across all markets in the first half of 2018. In fact, 63 of the 79 measures for appreciation and demand improved (if you’re a homeowner/seller).

To test the market, I looked at average price and three demand indicators (days on market, purchase price to asking price ratio, and number of sales) broken out by zip code, building age and price range.

The data compares pricing and demand trends in the first half of each year for all condos sold in Arlington. Cells highlighted in green indicate improvement (for homeowners/sellers) in that category for 2018.

All Eight Zip Codes Appreciated

Demand indicators supported the price growth, with most zip codes seeing a faster pace of sale and buyers negotiate less off original asking prices.

For those tracking new construction in Arlington, only 11 of the 98 sales in 22209 were in Key & Nash and it’s important to note that builders do not enter all of their sales into the MLS, so a large percentage of those sales are missing from the data. Note that 22205 is not included because of the lack of volume.

Older Properties Surged

Many older buildings in Northern VA are struggling to recover from their peak pricing from 2005-2007, which has left many owners in a difficult financial position.

The strong appreciation seen in condos built before the 1970s will be a much-needed relief for many and proves that Arlingtonians and investors are seeing value in older, less expensive condos compared to their newer, amenity-rich neighbors built in the last 20 years. Check out the huge drop in average days on market for condos built in the 1950s or earlier!

Higher Demand at Every Price Point

Demand picked up the most for less expensive condos, but every price range saw at least two demand indicators increase in the first half of 2018.

If you own a condo in Arlington and would like to take advantage of the recent appreciation of your property, feel free to email me at [email protected] to schedule some time to talk about your options.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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Ask Eli: 2018 Mid-Year Real Estate Review

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: How is Arlington real estate performing halfway through 2018?

Answer: If you’ve followed the news lately, it’s hard to miss reports that housing inventory is dangerously low and prices are quickly increasing across the country. While Arlington is experiencing the same issues with low inventory, we’re seeing some interesting behavior in prices.

If you simply look at average price change across Arlington, values actually dropped since last year’s strong appreciation. However, if you take a deeper look (see table below), you’ll find that condos actually jumped 9.1%, single family homes crossed the $1M mark by increasing 2.5%, and only the townhouse market lost ground.

So how did average prices in Arlington dropped when the two highest-volume housing types increased in value? There was a dramatic shift in volume from more expensive single-family and townhouse purchases (-14.8% and 18%, respectively) to less expensive condos (12.4%). Who said Millennials don’t buy homes? Hint: media outlets looking for clicks who ignored the fact that as of 2015 more than half of Millennials were still 25 or younger!

Comparison of First-Half Performance

Below is a chart comparing real estate sale statistics for the first six months over each of the last five years. I removed distressed sales, Cooperatives and age-restricted housing. The Townhouse category also includes duplexes, semi-detached and other similar homes. The Net Sold Price is the purchase price less any seller credits to buyer closing costs. Some highlights below:

  • Finally, real appreciation in the condo market, driven by a remarkable increase in purchase volume
  • Demand indicators moved in favor of sellers across the board, with decreased days on market (faster sale cycles) and purchase prices being negotiated closer to the original asking price (less buyer leverage)
  • Notable increases in the purchase volume of condos and decreased volume of townhouses and single-family sales. Does this indicate a youth movement in Arlington homeownership and families choosing to buy outside of Arlington where the dollar goes further? Or is it simply due to buyer frustration at the lack of choices in the higher priced townhouse and single-family market keeping eager buyers on the sideline?

The decrease in average Arlington home price is misleading and a great example of why macro-level real estate data is often ineffective and purchase/sale decisions should be made using micro-level data personalized to your sub-market.

The Never-Ending Story of Low Inventory

The inventory problem in Arlington is where things get interesting and confusing.

Basic economic principle would suggest that prices would be even higher due to such low supply, but what we’re seeing is that eager buyers are becoming frustrated with the lack of choices and either looking to other markets or simply foregoing a purchase, thus changing the demand curve and limiting price appreciation (I’m sure there’s an Economics 101 theory for this that I’ve read and forgotten).

The charts below highlight the following:

1. The number of homes for sale in Arlington dropped year-over-year for each of the first six months of 2018, including drops of 10% or more in each of the first four months.

2. The months of supply (existing inventory against demand) has decreased year-over-year five of the first six months of the year, with only a .2% increase in June, but two decreases of more than 20% earlier this year.

3. Overall, the number of homes going under contract each month is modestly closer to what it was last year, although it’s still down in 2018. Based on what I’m seeing with clients, this is not due to a lack of buyer interest, but the lack of choices for eager buyers. I think an increase in inventory would result in an equal increase in purchase activity.

If you have any questions about this data, would like to discuss how this data impacts your purchase/sale, or would like to see more personalized data sets specific to your purchase/sale feel free to send me an email at [email protected] and let me know how I can help!

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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